Friday, October 26, 2012

Ring of Fire Class, continued....

For September 19:

Great jobs on your reports today, everyone! Please use that same model for the work you do each week, if you don't mind. I think it will help you get more out of your research and remember the info better.

1) Please go back and review last week's assignments and pick up any of those that you missed. We will finish our little quiz next week.

Since we covered the topic of volcanoes very well today, we will move on to earthquakes and tsunamis next week, followed by looking at some water geology issues.

2) Here are some topic ideas that you might choose for next week. If you have a different idea, please do let me know!

A. Earthquakes
B. Tsunamis - if you decide to do either of these first two topics, then I'd like you to look at the current way these are monitored, detected, and warned about. I'd like you to list at least two catastrophic events that have happened in highly populated areas in the recent past. I'd like you to talk about what has been done since those events to repair damage to those areas and try to make them safer for the future.

To get you started, here's a short bit about some of the most catastrophic recent earthquakes in larger cities:

Choose a couple of those cities of most interest to you, and look up more info. Don't forget that the Haitian earthquake of just a few years ago did so much damage to that country that they still have not recovered. That might be another major quake for you to look at....

Here's a USGS site where you can look up earthquakes. I looked up magnitude 7.0 and above for the past 30 days and got four results:

You can then use this info to type in the names of those places, such as "Hojancha, Costa Rica, September 2012 earthquake" to get news reports about what's happening there currently. For larger quakes that are current, you might also see news reports on TV.

For tsunamis, you might use the NOAA site on Pacific tsunami warnings, or the Alaska tsunami warning system:

Here's an article to get you started on the most catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis in the last decade:

...a Nat. Geo. article on the deadliest tsunami ever:

10 most deadly tsunamis in history:

Use any of these to help get you started with choosing a couple of events to highlight. Don't forget the most recent tsunami event in Japan!

C. Liquefaction of ground during earthquakes - what is this; how/why does it happen; what is being done to try to protect people from it, etc.

Here's a USGS piece to get you started:

There's a lot of info and you tube videos, etc. on this!

D. Engineering advancements in creating earthquake and tsunami resistant buildings. (Make sure to look at new "pods" designed to weather tsunamis!)

Here's one bit of info to get you started:

E. New Madrid Earthquake (make sure to look at forecasts for future events and the predicted outcome of those!)

3) Please read the Volcano World info on earthquakes and answer the three questions at the end:

Please read this page on tsunamis:

...and watch this short Nat. Geo. film on tsunamis:

...and lastly, please read this page and answer the four questions at the end:

For September 26:

Okay, we are going to look at some hydrology topics. First, let's look at what the study of hydrology encompasses:


2) After reading this page, what area of hydrology are we going to be studying first, surface water, or ground water?

3) Now please read the page on the water cycle carefully, looking over the three charts on that page and making sure you understand them:

4) If you like, answer the opinion survey on where YOU believe the water cycle begins:

5) Now take this quiz to see if you remember all the parts of the water cycle:

If you don't understand what a word means, then please look it up!

6) Now look at one more animation of the water cycle. You have to read the intro, then click on the animation and click on "play" and "continue" to move through it. After you've read the conclusion, try the quiz and see how you do:

7) Since we have decided to study oceans first, I think that you should look at a little current info on what's happening to our ocean levels:

This page was last updated in August, so should be pretty current on what's occurring....

8) Now, choose a topic and write or otherwise prepare your report for class, please, and let me know your choice ASAP:

A) Changes in Salinity of the World's Oceans - why is this occurring, where is it occurring, what effects will it have on the oceans in future?

B) Thermohaline Circulation (also known as the ocean conveyor belt) - what is it, specifically; how does it work; why is it important; what might happen if it changes; is it changing?

C) Melting of the Northwest Passage - what is happening here and why; what effects (good or bad) will this have on trade in the future; what effect is it having on wildlife; is anything being done to try to change this?

D) How is Freshwater in the Pacific Islands Under Threat Due to Rising Ocean Levels - what's happening to the fresh water (ground water) as ocean levels rise and why; how many people across the Pacific are affected by this; what's being done to try to correct for it; what will happen if other fresh water sources are not found, etc.

E) Are Marine Organisms Affected by Changes in Salinity - is this happening now; if so, how and where; what organisms are being affected; what can be done about it; are any extinctions expected as a result of this, etc. I don't want a report on the organisms (biology), but on how the change in their environment is affecting them (chemistry/physics).

If you want other topics or have another one in mind, please let me know. Remember, we are studying the water of the oceans from a geological point of view - we're not doing biology, really, so we need to stay focused on the water itself; its chemistry and physics....

If you can't find starter articles to get you on track with your research, just let me know and I can work with you on that!

9) [Can you stand any more, LOL?] Because I am fascinated by the subject of rogue waves, here's some extremely good info on them - as I told you today, they are not just caused by storms!

Here's a Nat Geo article on them, too:

10) Just one more thing! See if you can find out where the roughest seas in the world are located and why it is so rough there.... (tell me when you see me....)

For October 3:

Okay, so - water, water everywhere.... Let's do surface fresh water next week, ok? Then we'll take a look at the mysterious world of groundwater....

Remember, we don't want to look at water obtained from wells, or any sort of underground source this week. We just want to look at water obtained from lakes, streams, rivers, etc.

1) Possible topics for your reports:

A) Public Health Problems (related to pollution, contamination, etc.) - what sorts of problems are common and in what areas of the world? What is being done to try to control or alleviate such problems? Look at local programs, such as Louisville's Water Step, to learn more about global initiatives. You might email them and ask some questions, too! After generalizing, select one problem to focus on and talk more about what has caused it and what is being done to alleviate it.

B) Waste Water and Storm Water - this would be a good topic to look at your own, local issues. You could call or email an official within your city's sewage and/or water treatment facilities and ask about any current issues, problems of the past, what has been done to alleviate those, etc. (take info with a grain of salt, however, as any company is going to say things to promote its image).... Or, you could look at major issues in the news worldwide....

C) Sewage (same agenda as B).... Have you toured our local water and/or sewage company in past with me (or others)? Now might be a good time for you to go look at those facilities if you've never been. The guides usually provide lots of interesting (off the record) info....

D) Pollution in lakes and reservoirs - again, you could look at more local/state issues, or you could look at major contamination somewhere in the U.S. or world. Some of the Great Lakes were extremely polluted in past, for instance, and have been at least somewhat rehabilitated (Eerie). See if you can find lakes that have been classified as "dead" and then cleaned up, etc. Check on areas of concern regarding pollution (or contamination, including purposeful contamination) of major reservoirs in the U.S. (Hoover, for instance)....

E) Fresh water augmentation - many countries are experiencing increasing shortfalls and have already pumped too much water out of the ground to try to augment, lowering their water tables and causing all sorts of problems. Now they need to look to other methods for augmentation. What might some of these be and how are they going about doing this? Cost? Pros vs. cons?

F) Watersheds - what is a water shed? Choose one water shed area and talk about how the general characteristics of a water shed apply to that particular water shed, what special considerations there are that make that water shed unique or cause special problems or concerns for that area, etc. Talk about pollution concerns for that water shed and what is being done to protect it. If you choose a local water shed, call or email an official in charge of monitoring it and ask questions!

As always, if you need some place to start, please let me know! And please tell me what topic you'd like to do ASAP so that I can let everyone else know!

2) Eutrophication was mentioned several times this week, but do you understand what it is? Read about it here:

Then please browse through this report on "nutrients" in our nation's water supplies. Remember, we're not interested in groundwater topics right now, just surface water issues. You don't have to read the entire article, but I'd like you to look at the abstract, intro, major findings, how surface drinking water supplies are affected, what the source of contamination is, and whether or not it's getting better or worse for surface drinking water. There's an index at the beginning that will help you find all these topics. Understand what the term "nutrients" means. It sounds as if it's something that would be good for the water, but it really isn't - why is that?

3) Please read about traditional waste water treatment using this lecture, which has some good pictures and diagrams. Please ignore the "reading assignment" as well as the "assignment" and "quiz" at the end:

Near the end of this lecture a more natural means of cleansing waste water is mentioned: wetlands. Look at this (shorter) lecture that provides info about the interest now in creating more natural waste water treatment facilities:

Pay particular attention to the pros and cons of this particular system and be able to take a stand for which system you would support and why (specifically)....

4) Please read through this "climate change and water" quiz from Nat Geo. Make sure to read the answers, which are informative! The info is more important than how you do on the quiz!

Also, please take the drinking water and sanitation quiz, again, reading the info, which is very informative!

Review the water cycle with an online, simple quiz!

Lastly, you don't have to read this for next week, but I did just want to provide you with another Nat Geo site that contains a ton of info on fresh water. It might be helpful to you in your research and will certainly provide you with a lot more info on this topic!

For October 10:

Please read this short page on groundwater:

...and this one:

I have decided that instead of assigning you to do research next week, I'd like you to read more about the karst lands we live in and we will talk about that some in preparation for talking about caves later.

Toward that end, please read this page on Karst, looking at the map and noting where we are:

At the top of this page, click on "What is Karst?" to read about this feature and learn what it is.

Then click on "Explore Aquifers" and scroll over our region to see the name of our aquifer. Note how large it is.

Look down the page and find the name of our aquifer, then click on it. Read about it, then, in the blue box, click on view photos.

Look at the photos of disappearing streams, springs and caves. Are you familiar with any of these features in our area?

For October 17:

First things first. I think that we need to finish up the little test I gave you, then finish up the work from last week. So please read the info I sent you to cover last week and answer the questions I posed so that we can talk about those items next week. I will follow with some topic ideas for groundwater for your research.

Okay, if you did not read the info I sent you in last week's email, then please pull it up and read that first. In case you can not find it, here it is again:
Please read this short page on groundwater:


...and this one:


I have decided that instead of assigning you to do research next week, I'd like you to read more about the karst lands we live in and we will talk about that some in preparation for talking about caves later.

Toward that end, please read this page on Karst, looking at the map and noting where we are:


4) At the top of this page, click on "What is Karst?" to read about this feature and learn what it is.

5) Then click on "Explore Aquifers" and scroll over our region to see the name of our aquifer. Note how large it is.

6) Look down the page and find the name of our aquifer, then click on it. Read about it, then, in the blue box, click on view photos.

7) Look at the photos of disappearing streams, springs and caves. Are you familiar with any of these features in our area?
For this week (separate assignments):
________, here are your topic choices for your research:
From this page you may choose any of these topics:
You may use any sites you choose to report on issues regarding these topics, I just thought you might want to take a look at some general info on the topics first....
OR, you may choose from these three other topics:
Environmental problems in karst lands:
Bat problems:
Wind Cave environmental concerns:
(Those are just websites to get you started....)
Girls, you chose to do the scavenger hunt on rivers, lakes, streams, and groundwater. You may look up the answers to these questions any way you see fit (Internet, books, asking someone who knows, etc.), but I would like for you to learn about the info you are gathering, rather than just finding an answer to put on the sheet for me ('cause I already took the test and knew the answers).... Toward that end, here is one website that might help you. I looked through it and saw the answers to most of your questions on this one site. You will have to read and interpret in order to see that, however:
Streams and Rivers:
Lastly, for fun (I hope), here are two slide shows of very beautiful caves that contain water (please read the little information with the pictures and choose your favorite from amongst them):
Water Caves:
For October 24:
For next week, we will be taking at look at caves.  One student chose to look at water in caves.  I sent that person these links:
Here are a couple more links that might help you out:

Freshwater blue holes:

Deep Water (Ocean) Caves of Bermuda:

You might look at how freshwater caves differ in formation from salt water caves, etc....

Importance of Caves and Karst (more groundwater stored in karst lands than anywhere else):
This is just too good for you to miss. There's a ton of good info here about water in caves:

And the pictures are terrific, too!
Another chose to look at the ecology of caves, including problems with algae growing in show caves.  I sent that person this information:
Cave Animals:

What Plants Live in Caves:

What Animals Live in Caves:

What's so Important About Cave Microbes:

Cave Animals:

Here's a very good, short article that will explain how algae is hurting many caves. This talks about one particular cave, but the concerns and what's being done are the same for all caves:

Here's an article that talks about how the Altamira caves were closed because of human breath destroying the cave paintings. Spain decided to open them back up again. Do you think that's a good idea?

(Lascaux, the most famous cave for paintings, in France, was closed in about the mid-1980's I think, for the same reason. They built a mock-up of the cave, complete with paintings, for the public to view instead of the real thing. Would you be willing to travel there to view a copy, instead of the real thing?)

The third took a look at cave formations and how they are created using this material:

Watch this short movie and talk about it:

Look for some of these points:

There's more water further/deeper into a typical cave, and therefore more formations, greater variety of formations, etc. But that doesn't mean that the very deepest part equals the most water/formations, as we see in this film.

Formations are called "speleothems" - what does that word mean?

What does water around the formations mean? [They're still growing?]

Why do some of the formations have the names they have, like "soda straws"?

How does water cause a formation to occur?

Click on this link to look at different formations and see how they form:

Since we're talking about current topics, add in something about protecting caves. I see that on the cave formation page, there is a small paragraph noting that the oils from our hands stop growth of formations, effectively "killing" them. This short kids page talks about how long it takes caves to form:

...and this even shorter page at the same site talks a little about caring for caves, though it doesn't provide much in the way of details:

For October 31:

I asked them to review this info in preparation for a second test:

Here are some terms that we've been using for the past few weeks. I think it would be a good idea for you to make sure you understand these.
hydrology -

karst -

groundwater -

surface water -

desalination -

eutrophication -

sewage -

alluvial fan -

(river) delta -

stream load -

bed load -
surface run off -

watershed -
aquifer -
tsunami -
rogue wave -
liquefaction -
Also, please make certain that you understand the water cycle. Here, again, is one of the many online models that demonstrate the water cycle:
and here's another:
...and another:
Please make sure that you understand the parts of the cycle: Evaporation, Condensation, Precipitation, Transpiration, Infiltration

We will be taking a look at soil science next week.

Everyone, please read this tiny bit of info about soil and soil careers in order to prepare for class next week:

Each of you will then look at a different topic related to soil.

 __________, please inform us about the basics of soil, that is, what components it is made from; what soil horizons are, etc., by using this site to help you: (click "next question" at the end of each page to go on to the next bit of info.)

Then please look at the topic of composting using this slide set. (I downloaded the PDF version and found it easier to scroll through and read than doing it the other way.) As you read, don't stop hitting "enter" to go from one page to the next until you get to the slide that says "the end." There's one point mid-way through where they say, "Ta-da!" as if the show is finished, but it's not!

If it is not raining on the day of class, we will go outside and look at my composting bin as we talk about this.

_________, please look at this paper that covers a lot of different types of soil risks and hazards. Please choose one or two that you would like to look at in more detail and tell us about. Please do not choose a liquefaction topic, as Emily is going to do that one. Use the table of contents to help you quickly see the different topic options. Do research from other sources on your chosen topic. Let me know what you choose, please, and also if I can help you with finding any research on that topic.

Also, you might like to look at these ingenious little models, using just a simple sponge to explain how soils hold water, drain water, etc. Just click on each topic to go to the explanation for it. I love this!

______, I didn't hear from you about the quicksand topic, so I am assuming you're okay with it. If not, then please let me know. Please read this information on quicksand so that you can tell us what it is and how it works:

Please also read this very short article about liquefaction so that you can tell us how and why it occurs sometimes during earthquakes:

and here's one with just a little bit more info so that you will understand the different ways it can occur:

Here is a very simple experiment about liquefaction that you might like to try to really see how it works:

We need to decide what topic we will cover in our last class. Here are some possible topics for you to consider. Please cast your vote for your top three choices, in order of choice, and I will see if we have a consensus on what we will use to wrap up this class.

Rocks and Minerals
More on Volcanoes, which we really didn't cover adequately....
Petroleum and Mining
Limnology (the study of inland ponds and lakes)
Glaciology (study of glaciers)
Physical geography (the landforms the world is made up of and how they affect human and animal populations over time - deserts, tundra, high plateau, etc.)

Let me know your thoughts, please!


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